When can I do my own electrical or wiring work, and when do I need a licensed professional?

If you're thinking about taking on some electrical work and need to know whether you're legally allowed to do the work, then read on for the answers.

What's the logic behind licensing?

The municipal, state or federal government owns the infrastructure that you see around you - from roads to public toilets to bridges and pathways. But they also own the infrastructure that we all often forget about - the sewer system, the electricity lines, and the drainage systems under ground.

When you as a normal person (ie, someone without a licence) wants to interact with that infrastructure, you'll interact with it in a 'normal person' kind of way - through an interface eg through an electrical outlet, a toilet, a switchboard, etc. These interfaces are already a form of licensing, because they are made conform to standards set by the people who own the infrastructure.

If you want to interact with the infrastructure behind the interface, you'll usually need a licence to do so. This licence is another form of standards set by the people who own the infrastructure - standards in the form of:

  • Education and training
  • Ongoing professional development
  • Specific guidelines (legislation - in this caseAS/NZS 3000 – Wiring Rules)

A licence is awarded to someone who conforms to the standards, and this is what you as a customer use to establish whether they're allowed to do work on the infrastructure.

But how do you know whether the work needs a licensed professional or not?

For electrical work, a general rule of thumb is that a licensed professional is needed for work on anything behind a light switch, power outlet, switchboard or light fitting.

What about incidental work?

Most states give tradesmen concessions for incidental work which isn’t covered under their licence (usually restricted by type of trade and value of incidental work), but this is unlikely to include electrical work.

All states offer restricted licence classes to trades other than electricians, however these trades must be recognised by the state electrical licensing authority as being trades which have a legitimate need to sometimes perform electrical work e.g. plumbers, gasfitters, refrigeration & air-conditioning equipment service tradies.

Which jobs do we check licences for?

Service Central automatically checks the licences of each business that responds to your job, based on the category that you have chosen. In the electrical category, we require a licence for most categories, excluding home entertainment installation, home automation and data cabling (that sometimes needs it's own licensed professionals).

Licence requirements vary

While most Energy Safety rules are very similar from state to state, there can be subtle differences. In addition, there are usually a few variants of licences which can add complexity. We recommend that you check the details of the job and the licence with your state Energy Safety authority before proceeding.

Click on your state to see their licensing information

Australian Capital Territory

  • Electrical Safety Act 1971 and Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act 2004
  • Electrical Licence Authority - ACT Planning & Land Authority

New South Wales

  • Home Building Act 1989 , Section 14
  • Electrical Licence Authority – NSW Office of Fair Trading

Northern Territory

  • Electrical Workers & Contractors Act , Section 53
  • Electrical Licence Authority – Electrical Workers & Contractors Licensing Board NT


  • Electrical Safety Act 2002 , Section 55
  • Electrical Licence Authority – QLD Electrical Safety Office

South Australia

  • Plumbers, Gas Fitters & Electricians Act 1995 , Section 6
  • Electrical Licence Authority – SA Office of Consumer & Business Affairs


  • Occupational Licensing Act 2005 , Section 22, which calls up schedule 2 of the Act, which specifies electrical work
  • Electrical Licence Authority – TAS Department of Justice


  • Electrical Safety Act 1998 , Section 30
  • Electrical Licence Authority – Energy Safe VIC

Western Australia

  • Electricity Act 1945 and Electricity (Licensing) Regulations 1991, Section 19
  • Electrical Licence Authority – WA Department of Commerce: Energy Safety

Looking for a licensed professional?

Simply post your job on our website today and get quick responses from three qualified businesses.

Discussion Rate article:
· 0 ratings
  • To find out more about The Tasmanian Electrical contracting course visit this site:

    over a year ago by Ralph Berry
Share this Article
Get Quotes

Get 3 quotes from local electricians for your job right now.

It's free and it's easy.

Get Quotes »

Get Quotes »